For those who struggle with anger or reactivity, here are 3 strategies that help. It’s super simple. There is more to emotional mastery, but this is a great start.
1. Identify your emotions, especially when you’re feeling angry, sad, upset, worried, or other challenging emotions. Take a productive pause, take a breath, and name your emotion(s). Do this regularly, as a practice, even if things are going well.
Find the specific word(s) to describe how you are feeling. This helps out in 2 big ways. First, you gain a more precise awareness of your current emotional state. With awareness comes the ability to manage. And next, on a biological level, you activate your prefrontal cortex more, while reducing activity in the amygdala…resulting in an increase ability to process emotions and less emotional reactivity.
2. Accept yourself in this current state. Practice non-judgment of yourself. You can say to yourself: “Even though I am feeling X, I fully and completely love and accept myself”.￼Allow yourself to feel how you are feeling, just as you might allow a good friend to have their feelings. Don’t try to coach yourself out of it too quickly. Witness yourself. Accept yourself.
3. After you have identified and accepted your emotion, ask yourself a couple questions: “What can I learn from this?” “Is there anything I need?”
Be curious about what is going on for you. It’s like asking “What are my emotions trying to tell me here…really?”
Your feelings are meant to be felt. Listen to them and you will learn a lot about yourself. Ignore them and well…you might be destined to do groundhog day again and again.
Asking yourself what you need, allows you to attend to yourself and to extend compassion to yourself. It’s also practical. If you identify that you are feeling tired, perhaps there’s an opportunity for you to fit in a few minutes of rest. Just a few minutes of taking care of yourself is drastically different (in a good way) from not taking care of yourself.
The strategies above train your nervous system to regulate. We can respond to, evaluate, and learn from our emotions rather than unconsciously reacting to them. 😃
It is possible. I learned how to do it. And now I teach people to do the same.